Known as Shinrin Yoku in Japan, where it has been practiced for many years now, Forest Bathing is the simple method of being calm and quiet amongst the trees, observing nature around you whilst breathing deeply can help both adults and children de-stress and boost health and wellbeing in a natural way.
“Forest bathing is a natural wellbeing therapy that utilises the healing power of the forest. Just being in a forest can help to reduce anxiety and boost the immune system, but forest bathing goes even further to become an immersive experience that can have far-reaching benefits.
"It’s not just a guided walk in the woods because our forest bathing experience takes you to a different level of sensory awareness. We guide you to enjoy a forest bathing activity that uses mindfulness and meditation techniques to allow you to open your senses to the natural world. The experience can be transformative.”
Forest Bathing with children has shown that being outside and being allowed to explore an outside space in this way leads to:
- Improved communication skills - the nature of the activities and the setting itself facilitates cooperation and sharing, encouraging unpressured communication between the children and between the children and staff
- Biophilia – pupils tend to explore and develop their instinctive connection with nature and other forms of life of all different kinds
- Sense of space – many pupils feel restricted by the confines of a classroom. The outdoors provides them with space, which brings with it physical and mental freedom.
- Sense of calm – pupils often feel less anxious outdoors. Pupils are often willing to spend more time just listening to the sounds in nature or sitting still witnessing nature's movements than many of us imagine.
- Increased confidence – pupils improve their ability to share their discoveries with others, they are more willing to explore new things and experience new environments.
- And happier pupils who enjoy being outdoors.
Take a look on https://oasesnortheast.org.uk/teacher-development/twilights-and-professional-development-days/introduction-to-forest-bathing for more information on Forest Bathing.